A key feature of academic writing is the presentation of an argument, ie a reasoned case for a particular point of view. The basis for the development of what counts as agreed knowledge within an academic context is that any claim to valid knowledge should be justified. An argument is the presentation of such justification, to persuade others that
a) it is reasonable to regard such a claim to knowledge,
or, more strongly
b) it is unreasonable not to accept that claim (ie others are persuaded to accept that what is presented is valid knowledge

. Related to this is the normal academic practice of subjecting such claims to valid knowledge to critical examination, asking 'in what ways can the attempted justification of this claim be shown to be invalid?' Well-constructed arguments will be able to withstand such critical examination.

As a student, you will be required to present your claim to what you consider valid knowledge. This may be as a written coursework assignment (an academic paper or essay) or oral presentation, as a response to a question in an examination, or in a more extended form in a dissertation or thesis.

The following links provide guidance on making an argument, which I hope will help you in your own work in presenting your claim on what you regard as valid knowledge.

Argument in Research - by James F. Klumpp, Department of Communication, University of Maryland College Park

Research Methods - by James F. Klumpp

Toulmin's argument model - on Changing Minds website

Terms in a Toulmin Argument - handout created by Meredith Reynolds and Scott Gilbert at Winthrop College.